We got dressed and put our make up on. We arrived early to be sure to find a place. We looked around to recognise the familiar faces of the other attendees (more than 100!). We crossed our fingers and hoped to be able to do justice to 5 years of exchange and cooperation. It was virtual, but it felt real.
The backstage was hectic, just like what happens behind the curtains of a cosy, little theatre. Unexpected things kept happening, phones were ringing while conference videos were suddenly shut off. Parallel chats were full of messages to help us make decisions and pretend everything was running smoothly in front of our audience. It gave us adrenaline and, after a long time, a sense of purpose.
Chris and Madeline multitasked incessantly. While this may not come as a surprise for Madeline, let’s not forget that, according to popular belief, for a man this is a much harder task!…and yet, he managed to walk us through such diverse content, with comments to each speaker and insights on the energy efficiency topic.
Sergio appeared live and in masked video interviews bringing in his passion for the topic and his commitment to the project. Simona Forzoni, Local Councillor for Environment in Greve in Chianti (IT) and Stefano Maestrelli, Former Energy Manger of “Versilia” Hospital agreed to share their experience with REBUS and starred in the interviews. The Tuscan Regional Minister for Environment was unfortunately busy with COVID-19 response tasks, but ARRR’s President Marco Meacci made sure he joined to welcome all of us to Tuscany. We thank them for that.
Olle, who somehow managed to surround himself with REBUS logo, guided us through the inspirational experiences of the City of Malmö. In the same session, Katalin, with her personal touch, told us the story of the achievements of the B-A-Z County in Hungary and asked a key question: how to communicate energy data to users in a way that it is meaningful to them?
Maria and Sofia sat far away from each other, as we all know that distancing is the new normal. However, this did not stop them from showing the strong cooperation link developed between the Region of Crete and the Local council of Hersonissos that tested the REBUS Energy Renovation Path. Patrycja kept us interested not just with her presentation, but also with an interactive questionnaire that asked us to reflect on what’s key when it comes to energy efficiency improvement.
Valerio Marangolo, on behalf of the Managing Authority in Tuscany, made a point of participating to show how the ERDF call for proposals were improved thanks to REBUS. Luiza and Luminita showed us what is achievable when different levels of government, the Region and the Local Councils, work towards the same objective. Their speech brought our memories back to Romania. We all remember the last time we met in an airport. It was in Bucharest, one year ago. It was memorable not just because it was the last time we met in person. The real thing is that we all managed to smuggle through airport security the big, white, sharp umbrellas, kind present from the Mayor of Buzau. Believe us, not a small achievement and a memory to treasure!
Cllr Clare’s microphone might have been muffled, but his message on the Climate emergency response reached us loud and clear. Rich and Stephen made sure that the experiences of Durham County Council, from which all partners learned so much throughout the project, were shared with the audience as well.
In the final event, how could we not involve Miriam from Resolvo, who held up the partnership for many years? As partners confessed to me when I took over project coordination, they loved her and at the same time they feared her enough to be motived and always step up the quality of their performance.
Dr Lily Christoforidou shared interesting food for thought on the European Green Deal opening up future perspectives. Our Interreg Europe project officer, Charo Camacho, closed the event with a heart-warming, inspirational speech that made us feel appreciated not just for our work, but also for our commitment to European cooperation. No better way to say goodbye, for now.
Sara Banchi – Resolvo